Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pondering a post-bullshit America...

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

We are not living in a post-racial political era.

We are not living in a post-gender era.

We sure as shit are not living in a post-bullshit equality for all, let freedom ring and the masses have our bread and eat it too era.

What we are living in…and some of us are suffering through…is the mess that results from decades of avoiding the issues of race, class and gender by embracing the school of tolerance rather than engaging in the hard work of social justice.

I am not a fan of the school of tolerance. It gives birth to the delusion that any one political candidate experiencing public support as she or he runs for president of the United States is somehow an indicator that American society has transcended a damn thing.

That interpretation of the 2008 race to the Democratic nomination has been debunked by the very election cycle currently being hailed as transcendent. How the hell can any pundit fix their face to ponder a post-racial America when Democrats beat Republicans in the rush to bait based on race?

How can anyone seriously discuss a post–gender America when I’ve yet to witness a political analysis of Senator Clinton’s campaign by the mainstream media that doesn’t trip over the fact that she is a woman?

Let’s keep this shit real Jeff Foxworthy style (wink).

If anyone running for public office needs to swiftly debunk claims that she or he is a Muslim…we are not post-racial.

When pundits gleefully wallow in the stankification of sexism to the extent that an on-air public apology is required…we are not post-gender.

When President Bush’s challenge to the nation to stop casually tossing out lynching threats and engaging in noose humor doesn’t even hold for a week before a moron with a microphone gets his lynch threat on in reference to the wife of a serving United States Senator and candidate for the Democratic nomination for President (Lawd, have mercy) and no one thinks for one second he’ll lose his pulpit, apologize or even grasp what he just said and how bloody inappropriate not to mention dangerous it was to say ...oh hell no, we are not living in a post-racial era.

And when political pundits verbally fumble like novices getting past first base and spend more time analyzing that ‘emotional moment’ in New Hampshire than what the heck differentiates one candidate from the other beyond their gender and race…well, we’ve come a long way baby but we still have a long way to go.

What is lost in the mix is that fact that we also have a precious opportunity to confront these issues.

Parents and teachers have the opportunity to discuss gender and sexism with some pretty good examples of how that shit is used. Put this mess out in the open and in context so that our youth can learn from it rather than continue to repeat it.

Family and friends have the opportunity to discuss race and the need to respect religious diversity. Get real about that and discuss why a picture can incite fear which will feed a bigotry that holds all of us back. Get real about why some conservatives are discussing the issues while others are speaking about Obama on the radio in some strange version of black talk (ooooh, how original…not) and drooling over the opportunity to fully give in to their insecurity-based hatred.

When we the people get post-bullshit and debate the issues facing us all, free of the corruption of bigotry and the inhibitions of fear, then we can investigate whether America is post-ig'nant.

Enlightenment isn’t something we can speak into reality anymore than bigotry is something we can simply declare to be history.

34 comments:

WNG said...

Amen

Rileysdtr said...

I think the key here is "insecurity" as basis for bigotry. Not that old "the biggest bashers are all closet cases" kind of insecurity but basic human discomfort as it relates to feeling out of place. We are tribal animals by nature (not herd, or pack - tribal. The Dearly Beloved is a biologist and assures me this is fact) and have a deep need to feel secure and in place as it relates to the Tribe.

For example, last weekend the D.B. and I went to the big Dog Show in Chicago, which takes place in one wing of a sprawling, metacomplex designed to host huge and simultaneous events. In addition to the Dog Show there was a national Dentists conference and the annual Convocation/Homecoming for the Nation of Islam.

Now, I am a very secure person (the D.B. says I'm actually a little over the top) and I felt uncomfortable at times cutting through the Nation of Islam "wing" on my way to the Dog Show. It ain't fear of a black planet - it was the tribal animal in me saying "whoopsie, you are out of place compared to the Tribe." Same feeling as the year the above mix added a Motorcycle Show and I wandered around the showroom floor for a break before Best In Show began. After seeing about the 50th heavily pierced and tattooed manmountain, the hair on the back on my neck started tingling...

(Side Note: for hardcore people watchers, come to Chicago the last weekend in February. The crowd mix for the whole Dentists/Bikers/Nation of Islam/Dog People has to be seen to be believed...)

We all have prejudices, and we all feel insecure at times. One cannot force a feeling of security onto others through a "let's join hands and sing!" mandate; but progress can be made when insecurities are acknowledged and addressed, and when people of different cultures and communities interact - interaction expands the Tribe. And expansion of the Tribe expands our understanding, our empathy, and our humanity.

(I'd tell y'all all about how I used to play Dungeons and Dragons with the local skinheads, but gee looks like we're out of time...)

GayProf said...

It's amazing to me that the mainstream media can fantasize about "how far we have come" in terms of race and gender and then immediately jump to a story about the alleged threat of an "alien horde" serging across our borders

cheapblueguitar said...

Exactly! Well said (as always.)

katecontinued said...

Tremendous post and I wish it were shouted from the television - that closed box of bullshit.

LadyJ said...

Yes. Yes. And yes, again.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

POW! Nailed it again Black Lady!

I spent many years screaming that "tolerance" was nothing more than tolerating and that we needed to learn to accept and include, not tolerate. I hated that word a long time ago and I hate it today. It means nothing more than you tolerate something you don't necessarily like. It gives the proles a license to hate as long as they tolerate.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Sing it!

Sarah J said...

I want a T-shirt that says "post-ig'nant"

Anonymous said...

Actually, NOIslam makes me a little nervous, as their security plans use NOI members and I don't know if they are security professionals or just big hulking guys with no training (ie, could go off on any pretense). I'd also be cautious around clusters of hulking unsmiling motorcycle guys of any race. Secret Service folks, I don't worry about, since they are pros.

NancyP

Anonymous said...

Typical one-hotel combo
1. academic gynecologic oncologists and related specialists and researchers (me)
2. AME Ladies' Auxiliaries (ie, black church ladies)
3. civil engineers

I can't beat bikers/NOI/dentists/dogs and their owners.

NancyP

Disgusted in St. Louis said...

SWEET! One great post!

IMHO, this is one of you best ever paragraphs (can we all agree, sweet jesus I hate bill o'reilly?):

When President Bush’s challenge to the nation to stop casually tossing out lynching threats and engaging in noose humor doesn’t even hold for a week before a moron with a microphone gets his lynch threat on in reference to the wife of a serving United States Senator and candidate for the Democratic nomination for President (Lawd, have mercy) and no one thinks for one second he’ll lose his pulpit, apologize or even grasp what he just said and how bloody inappropriate not to mention dangerous it was to say ...oh hell no, we are not living in a post-racial era.


Belated Happy B-Day, by the way -- been far under the weather lately, not been posting but have been reading B^) It gets ugly when my RSS reader gets over 100 new posts in an afternoon while migraines limit my reading sessions.

A.evilredhead said...

I know we are not in a post-anthing world, yet. And at the rate we are goin' nowhere fast are children's children will be in the same damn spot.

f'in sad

TOM said...

you are smart.
thanks for a wonderful post.

A.evilredhead said...

I really should proof read these entries I submit. Apologies to ABB.

Abby said...

Preach it, my sister. I love the distinction between tolerance and social justice. People want to learn the rules so they can work around confronting their own icky feelings. Fuck that noise. Do the work, people! Get all up in it. Get dirty with it. Then do that again tomorrow.

adjunct whore said...

yep. can you get this out there in the mainstream? people need to read this, for chrissakes.

a long way to go indeed.

PhoenixRising said...

Tolerance. It's what we display to that which we rightfully and (self-)righteously despise.

Acceptance, and embracing our diversity, call for a certain degree of inward gaze that neither Scooter B nor Tweety has quite grasped at their ages.

So it's not surprising that the call for a post-racial America precedes the call for an America that addresses racism openly. It's pitiful, but not surprising.

I second the call: get yourself to CafePress, and make me a t-shirt. I'm thinking a small ABB logo in breast pocket position, with 'post-ig'nant' on the back. But let your C-Money be your guide!

Seamus said...

The world is full of irrational bigoted people. Many of them are in power or have large microphones. No news there. So what is new?

Barrack and Hillary are two of three in the running for most powerful person on the planet. That's an undeniable indicator that progress has occurred.

As for social justice, that will never be fully achieved here on earth. Only when new societies are created on other planets allowing for new rules and new beginnings will there be a real opportunity for deep change.

MacDaddy said...

Great post, sistah.

Tolerance is just a nice word to hid the fact that we don't want to do the hard work of checking our racism, sexism and hatred of people doing worse than we are.

And using the word allows us to be lazy and appear progressive at the same time. What b.s.

PortlyDyke said...

I posted this over at Shakesville too, but didn't know if you'd see it, so I'm posting it again:
"What is lost in the mix is that fact that we also have a precious opportunity to confront these issues."

Shark-fu, this post made me weep, and returned me to the heart of myself, where my "progressiveness" really comes from. Thank you.

I'm working so hard these days to look for that teachable moment, and I find it so easy lately to fall into "angry and embittered", or even worse -- "disheartened and cynical". Thank you, sister, for yanking me off that cliff.

I'm a verbose creature, and you've managed to sum up several decades of what I've been thinking in one post. Thank you for saying it. Don't stop saying it. I need your voice.

Debby said...

Hell Yeah!

KBO said...

Since I'm lamenting the fact that someone beat me to the "Bitches get shit done" t-shirt, you must, must, must get on the "Post-ig'nant" shirt. I will buy several.

Also, amen, Bitch. You make me feel better every time I read your blog. Not everyone around here is an asshole. Thanks for reminding me.

MacDaddy said...

Great post, Sistah.

Tolerance is just a catch-all word for racist whites too insecure to mind their history or their true hearts, sexist men too hurt by women intelligence and independence to meet them half-way and black homophobics too fearful of their own sexuality and too closed-minded to step into the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

The Point?

Homer said...

Thanks for speaking out. In the historical research I do I frequently come across articles from the 1880s to the 1950s that routinely identified the race or ethnicity of people, assuring the predominately white readership that these people were not "them." The constant mentions of Obama's race and Clinton's sex have grown tiresome. I'm waiting for an article pointing out the obvious, that McCain is a white male, and discussing what this means to the nation.

brad4d said...

The last depression created social work & now conflict resolution is ready to reveal restorative justice as the only antidote to punitive defensiveness. The confrontation style of Obama is the smoothest ever and and can develop enough respect to share. We all need to be freed from the bondage of name-calling.

PhysioProf said...

Very perceptive post. Found out about it from BitchPhD.

Peace.

obscenenotheard (rachael) said...

you're great. thanks abb

Red Seven said...

Oh HELL yes ... and Hallelujah.

themimperialprincess said...

Perfect, perfect, perfect examples. Everybody needs to hear this.

You should have your own talk show.

Damn funny, too.

(Maybe just a tad, unfair?--Don't pinch me! We *have* come a long, long way even if we have miles to go before we sleep.)

Got here from Bitch, PhD this time but will read you regularly because I've subscribed to your feed.

--Thanks

GoGo said...

Hell yeah. i'm printing this, i have some folks who might appreciate this post.

~gg

shrtstormtrooper said...

amen!

Sylo Tode said...

Using the word "tolerant" is a huge indicator. It shows that someone is willing to put up with something that they think is wrong.

It doesn't say anything about accepting people for who they are, respecting their views, or appreciating their differences.